I bought a scarf today, and not because my neck was chilly and I had nothing to wrap around it, nor because I had an outfit that just needed another detail. I have at least fifteen scarves for those purposes (honeslty, I’m probably underestimating and I’m not at home to count), and that’s precisely why I bought another one: Because I have a collection and I cannot resist. I regularly resist purchasing more yoga clothes (They have a siren song! They’re colorful and comfortable and I could get so much use out of them.) and shoes (They always fit and look good, unlike jeans. They’re fun, especially since I can’t really wear a sequined outfit on a daily basis. …OK, that statement was inspired by these shoes that I’m still trying to talk myself out of buying.), but I don’t have to resist scarves because they’re functional and multipurpose and stylish and unique. I’ve been pretty great at paring down my possessions this past year, but I’ve never felt bad about keeping my scarves since they’re self-contained and in a pinch (one where I’d have to defend my scarf habit), I could toss them over a chair or shelf and call them decor, then pull one down, toss it on, and call it flair.

And speaking of my purge of possessions, I did keep several decorative boxes, dishes, mugs, and teapots. I’m trying to get away from tchotchkes, but these items are functional because like an old lady who keeps her money stashed in various parts of her house, I keep my buttons stashed in various parts of my house and in various containers. My button collection began with a promotional button from the Venus razor people. It said, “I’m a goddess,” and had the Venus logo, and the combination of self-aggrandizement and product placement was so excellent, I had to affix it to my backpack. It made people laugh or comment, and that’s the kind of attention I can get behind. So I added more and ore and more buttons. I acquired the Venus one my sophomore year of college and by graduation, I had hundreds of buttons covering my backpack. It turned out to be an excellent way for an introverted bleeding heart liberal to express herself at a small-town Methodist college. Now that I live in Atlanta and I make no secret of my political views, I keep my buttons limited to one on my lanyard at work that says, “Hablo Espanol,” and a few pro-choice ones on the tote bag I carry. But the buttons all stay with me because o the power they hold.

And then there’s the tea collection. On Tuesday, my dear friend Judith and her partner Jim came over to watch a movie, so I offered them some tea. “What kinds do you have?” JIm asked innocently. “Oh, Jim,” I sighed, opening one, two, three cupboards in my tiny kitchen, to reveal all three filled with boxes and tins and Baggies of tea. When he raved about the decaffeinated black tea I gave him, I sent him home with the box of it because I’m trying to get the tea supply down to one cabinet. It wouldn’t pose so much of a storage concern if not for the two large boxes and one large bag of yarn I collected. Or the fifteen bookshelves full of books I’ve accumulated. Or the five+ years of Bitch magazines I’m holding onto. Or the three Hefty bags full of stuffed animals in the attic of my parents’ house. Or the thirty+ pairs of dangly earrings hanging precariously on the jewelry tree on my dresser.